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Paige Fraser, Pelham Parkway native, said that foundation’s efforts will focus first on youth in the Bronx

Professional dancer takes passion to next generation

Bronx Times
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A professional dancer from the borough is eager to give back to her community and impart her passion for dance on the next generation.

Paige Fraser, a Pelham Parkway native and professional ballerina who is part of Visceral Dance Chicago and a scoliosis advocate, had formed the Paige Fraser Foundation to focus on developing programs for young artists/dancers specifically from the borough.

Aside from her dance work at Visceral, where she was a founding member, Fraser has danced in a commercial that aired during a Super Bowl; won a prestigious honor for artists, the Princess Grace Award in 2016; spent two years with the Alvin Ailey 2 dance company; and earned a degree from Fordham University, the dancer said.

“I have had a great career so far, I always wanted to give back and I have always felt very connected to my community in the Bronx,” said Fraser.

Inaugural events for the foundation are scheduled for April, May and June, including a yoga class instructed by Jo Murdock, a Meditation Series with Dr. Alex Eingorn, and Dance Cardio with instructor Samantha Barriento.

“This is just a way to spread the word and make our presence known within the Bronx community,” said Fraser.

The yoga class is scheduled for Saturday, April 28 and Sunday, April 29. Those interested can sign up by visiting thepaigefraserfoundation.org and emailing the address listed in the events section. More information about the foundation can be found on the website.

All proceeds from these first events will go towards scholarships for a program to encourage and develop young dancers from the borough called Dance is Healing, said Fraser.

Fraser blazed an unlikely path to professional dancing, developing an intense interest in dance when her mother enrolled her in a dance class at the age of four.

The daughter of Jamaican immigrants, she got her first big break, when at the age of 10, she won the lead role of Clara in a performance of The Nutcracker.

“I just remember that feeling of having such a big part and that people actually see something in me,” she recalled.

After that, she took her dancing very seriously, practicing after school Monday through Friday and attending summer workshops.

She was accepted to the city’s prestigious Performing Arts High School, where she further honed her talents.

It was around this time that she was diagnosed with Scoliosis, a sideways curvature of the spine. She decided to opt out of surgery because it would sideline her, and sought other alternative therapies, while continuing to dance.

After dancing professionally for two years, she took what she describes as “a leap of faith” to join Visceral Dance Chicago, a newly formed company in the Midwest.

As a dancer of color, she finds that young dancers in similar circumstances are often hampered by a lack of resources, as well as differing aesthetics and preferences when it comes to dance.

She hopes that her story of the power of perseverance will inspire others.

“I want to be a voice for the next generation so that they feel empowered and encouraged to pursue their dreams,” said Fraser.

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.
Updated 11:57 am, April 19, 2018
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